A complicated quasicrystal approximant epsilon16 predicted by the strong-reflections approach.
ABSTRACT: The structure of a complicated quasicrystal approximant epsilon(16) was predicted from a known and related quasicrystal approximant epsilon(6) by the strong-reflections approach. Electron-diffraction studies show that in reciprocal space, the positions of the strongest reflections and their intensity distributions are similar for both approximants. By applying the strong-reflections approach, the structure factors of epsilon(16) were deduced from those of the known epsilon(6) structure. Owing to the different space groups of the two structures, a shift of the phase origin had to be applied in order to obtain the phases of epsilon(16). An electron-density map of epsilon(16) was calculated by inverse Fourier transformation of the structure factors of the 256 strongest reflections. Similar to that of epsilon(6), the predicted structure of epsilon(16) contains eight layers in each unit cell, stacked along the b axis. Along the b axis, epsilon(16) is built by banana-shaped tiles and pentagonal tiles; this structure is confirmed by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). The simulated precession electron-diffraction (PED) patterns from the structure model are in good agreement with the experimental ones. Epsilon(16) with 153 unique atoms in the unit cell is the most complicated approximant structure ever solved or predicted.
Project description:Quasicrystals and their approximants have triggered widespread interest due to the challenge of solving their complex crystal structures as well as their possibly exceptional properties. The structural motifs of approximants are similar to those of the corresponding quasicrystals, but to what extent are their crystallization pathways the same? Unfortunately, there have been very few in situ experimental investigations to answer this question. Here, by leveraging the high penetrating power of hard X-rays, synchrotron-based X-ray tomography was conducted in order to capture the nucleation and growth of a decagonal quasicrystal and its related approximant. The combination of data-driven computational analysis with new thermodynamic databases allowed the characterization, with high precision, of the constitutional and kinetic driving forces for crystallization. The experimental results prove that the growth of both crystals from a liquid is dominated by first-order kinetics. Nevertheless, and somewhat surprisingly, significant differences were observed in their rates of nucleation and growth. The reasons for such divergent behaviours are discussed in light of contemporary theories of intermetallic crystallization.
Project description:We report the discovery of Al34Ni9Fe2, the first natural known periodic crystalline approximant to decagonite (Al71Ni24Fe5), a natural quasicrystal composed of a periodic stack of planes with quasiperiodic atomic order and ten-fold symmetry. The new mineral has been approved by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA 2018-038) and officially named proxidecagonite, which derives from its identity to periodic approximant of decagonite. Both decagonite and proxidecagonite were found in fragments from the Khatyrka meteorite. Proxidecagonite is the first natural quasicrystal approximant to be found in the Al-Ni-Fe system. Within this system, the decagonal quasicrystal phase has been reported to transform at ~940?°C to Al13(Fe,Ni)4, Al3(Fe,Ni)2 and the liquid phase, and between 800 and 850?°C to Al13(Fe,Ni)4, Al3(Fe,Ni) and Al3(Fe,Ni)2. The fact that proxidecagonite has not been observed in the laboratory before and formed in a meteorite exposed to high pressures and temperatures during impact-induced shocks suggests that it might be a thermodynamically stable compound at high pressure. The most prominent structural motifs are pseudo-pentagonal symmetry subunits, such as pentagonal bipyramids, that share edges and corners with trigonal bipyramids and which maximize shortest Ni-Al over Ni-Ni contacts.
Project description:The refined x-ray crystal structure of the phase Mg(27)Al(10.7(2))Zn(47.3(2)) (Pa3) establishes it as the new 2/1 Bergman-type approximant of the icosahedral quasicrystal. The primitive cubic lattice consists of condensed triacontahedral and novel prolate rhombohedral (PR) clusters. Each triacontahedron encapsulates the traditional, multiply endohedral Bergman-type clusters, and each PR encapsulates an Al(2) dimer. This phase exhibits the same long-range order as recently established for the Tsai-type Sc-Mg-Zn 2/1 approximant crystal, with substantial geometric and atomic distribution differences between the two only in the short range orders. This common feature suggests that Bergman- and Tsai-type quasicrystals may be more similar than earlier conceived. Factors germane to the formation of, and the differences between, Bergman- vs. Tsai-type 1/1 and 2/1 approximate structures are considered, including notably different distributions of the more electropositive elements.
Project description:Particle shape plays a crucial role in determining packing characteristics. Real particles in nature usually have rounded corners. In this work, we systematically investigate the rounded corner effect on the dense packings of spherotetrahedral particles. The evolution of dense packing structure as the particle shape continuously deforms from a regular tetrahedron to a sphere is investigated, starting both from the regular tetrahedron and the sphere packings. The dimer crystal and the quasicrystal approximant are used as initial configurations, as well as the two densest sphere packing structures. We characterize the evolution of spherotetrahedron packings from the ideal tetrahedron (s?=?0) to the sphere (s?=?1) via a single roundness parameter s. The evolution can be partitioned into seven regions according to the shape variation of the packing unit cell. Interestingly, a peak of the packing density ? is first observed at s???0.16 in the ?-s curves where the tetrahedra have small rounded corners. The maximum density of the deformed quasicrystal approximant family (????0.8763) is slightly larger than that of the deformed dimer crystal family (????0.8704), and both of them exceed the densest known packing of ideal tetrahedra (????0.8563).
Project description:Superconductivity is ubiquitous as evidenced by the observation in many crystals including carrier-doped oxides and diamond. Amorphous solids are no exception. However, it remains to be discovered in quasicrystals, in which atoms are ordered over long distances but not in a periodically repeating arrangement. Here we report electrical resistivity, magnetization, and specific-heat measurements of Al-Zn-Mg quasicrystal, presenting convincing evidence for the emergence of bulk superconductivity at a very low transition temperature of [Formula: see text] K. We also find superconductivity in its approximant crystals, structures that are periodic, but that are very similar to quasicrystals. These observations demonstrate that the effective interaction between electrons remains attractive under variation of the atomic arrangement from periodic to quasiperiodic one. The discovery of the superconducting quasicrystal, in which the fractal geometry interplays with superconductivity, opens the door to a new type of superconductivity, fractal superconductivity.
Project description:The first natural-occurring quasicrystal, icosahedrite, was recently discovered in the Khatyrka meteorite, a new CV3 carbonaceous chondrite. Its finding raised fundamental questions regarding the effects of pressure and temperature on the kinetic and thermodynamic stability of the quasicrystal structure relative to possible isochemical crystalline or amorphous phases. Although several studies showed the stability at ambient temperature of synthetic icosahedral AlCuFe up to ~35?GPa, the simultaneous effect of temperature and pressure relevant for the formation of icosahedrite has been never investigated so far. Here we present in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction experiments on synthetic icosahedral AlCuFe using multianvil device to explore possible temperature-induced phase transformations at pressures of 5?GPa and temperature up to 1773?K. Results show the structural stability of i-AlCuFe phase with a negligible effect of pressure on the volumetric thermal expansion properties. In addition, the structural analysis of the recovered sample excludes the transformation of AlCuFe quasicrystalline phase to possible approximant phases, which is in contrast with previous predictions at ambient pressure. Results from this study extend our knowledge on the stability of icosahedral AlCuFe at higher temperature and pressure than previously examined, and provide a new constraint on the stability of icosahedrite.
Project description:Non-Fermi-liquid (NFL), a significant deviation from Fermi-liquid theory, usually emerges near an order-disorder phase transition at absolute zero. Recently, a diverging susceptibility toward zero temperature was observed in a quasicrystal (QC). Since an electronic long-range ordering is normally absent in QCs, this anomalous behaviour should be a new type of NFL. Here we study high-resolution partial-fluorescence-yield x-ray absorption spectroscopy on Yb-based intermediate-valence icosahedral QCs and cubic approximant crystals (ACs), some of which are new materials, to unveil the mechanism of the NFL. We find that for both forms of QCs and ACs, there is a critical lattice parameter where Yb-valence and magnetism concomitantly exhibit singularities, suggesting a critical-valence-fluctuation-induced NFL. The present result provides an intriguing structure–property relationship of matter; size of a Tsai-type cluster (that is a common local structure to both forms) tunes the NFL whereas translational symmetry (that is present in ACs but absent in QCs) determines the nature of the NFL against the external/chemical pressure.
Project description:A systematic study of the structures of ternary icosahedral Yb–Cd–Mg quasicrystals with different Mg contents has been carried out by single-crystal X-ray diffraction; occupational and positional disorder in the resulting structures was compared with that in a Yb–Cd–Mg 1/1 approximant. Atomic structures of ternary icosahedral (i) Yb–Cd–Mg quasicrystals (QCs) with five different Mg contents up to 46.4?at.% and a corresponding 1/1 approximant (AP), which has a composition of Yb13.3Cd70.3Mg16.5, have been analysed by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. The structures of the iQCs were found to be isostructural to the parent i-YbCd5.7, which consists of a so-called Tsai-type rhombic triacontahedron (RTH) cluster and double Friauf polyhedron, and that of the 1/1 AP was found to be isostructural to YbCd6, which is described by a body-centred packing of the same type of RTH cluster. In the iQCs, it was found that there are three types of Cd/Mg occupation, namely, Cd preferential site, Mg preferential site and Cd/Mg mixed site, and the occupation probabilities of Mg atoms at the Mg preferential site show a saturation behaviour around the Mg content of 20?at.%. This selective Mg occupation is identified as a cause of the non-linear increase in the icosahedral lattice constant with increasing Mg content. The 1/1 AP has a similar selective Mg occupation to that of the iQCs in terms of the shell structures of the Tsai-type RTH cluster. In both iQCs and the 1/1 AP, the Mg preferential sites have a smaller number of Yb atoms among their coordination numbers. Moreover, short-range order (s.r.o.) diffuse scattering was observed on the diffraction patterns of the iQCs at the positions corresponding to a face-centred-type (F-type) icosahedral superlattice. The F-type s.r.o. was found to result from the Mg substitution.
Project description:In this study, the atomic structure of the ternary icosahedral ZnMgTm quasicrystal (QC) is investigated by means of single-crystal X-ray diffraction. The structure is found to be a member of the Bergman QC family, frequently found in Zn-Mg-rare-earth systems. The ab initio structure solution was obtained by the use of the Superflip software. The infinite structure model was founded on the atomic decoration of two golden rhombohedra, with an edge length of 21.7?Å, constituting the Ammann-Kramer-Neri tiling. The refined structure converged well with the experimental diffraction diagram, with the crystallographic R factor equal to 9.8%. The Bergman clusters were found to be bonded by four possible linkages. Only two linkages, b and c, are detected in approximant crystals and are employed to model the icosahedral QCs in the cluster approach known for the CdYb Tsai-type QC. Additional short b and a linkages are found in this study. Short interatomic distances are not generated by those linkages due to the systematic absence of atoms and the formation of split atomic positions. The presence of four linkages allows the structure to be pictured as a complete covering by rhombic triacontahedral clusters and consequently there is no need to define the interstitial part of the structure (i.e. that outside the cluster). The 6D embedding of the solved structure is discussed for the final verification of the model.
Project description:Crystals of the rare earth metal polytelluride LaTe1.82(1), namely, lanthanum telluride (1/1.8), have been grown by molten alkali halide flux reactions and vapour-assisted crystallization with iodine. The two-dimensionally incommensurately modulated crystal structure has been investigated by X-ray diffraction experiments. In contrast to the tetragonal average structure with unit-cell dimensions of a = 4.4996?(5) and c = 9.179?(1)?Å at 296?(1)?K, which was solved and refined in the space group P4/nmm (No. 129), the satellite reflections are not compatible with a tetragonal symmetry but enforce a symmetry reduction. Possible space groups have been derived by group-subgroup relationships and by consideration of previous reports on similar rare earth metal polychalcogenide structures. Two structural models in the orthorhombic superspace group, i.e. Pmmn(?,?,1/2)000(-?,?,1/2)000 (No. 18.104.22.168) and Pm21n(?,?,1/2)000(-?,?,1/2)000 (No. 22.214.171.124), with modulation wave vectors q1 = ?a* + ?b* + 1/2c* and q2 = -?a* + ?b* + 1/2c* [? = 0.272?(1) and ? = 0.314?(1)], have been established and evaluated against each other. The modulation describes the distribution of defects in the planar [Te] layer, coupled to a displacive modulation due to the formation of different Te anions. The bonding situation in the planar [Te] layer and the different Te anion species have been investigated by density functional theory (DFT) methods and an electron localizability indicator (ELI-D)-based bonding analysis on three different approximants. The temperature-dependent electrical resistance revealed a semiconducting behaviour with an estimated band gap of 0.17?eV.